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Thanksgiving Trend Watchers Test Recipes So You Don't Have To

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Ancient grains in the mix:<em> Cooking Light's</em> Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad with Crunch Spelt prepared by Dunn and Patton.

For those who like to try new recipes at Thanksgiving, let Clay Dunn and Zach Patton be your guides. They're the couple behind the food blog, The Bitten Word, and every year before the holiday, they scan 10 leading food magazines to identify recipe trends. Then they try out about 20 of the most intriguing recipes for a pre-Thanksgiving meal with friends, called Fakesgiving.

All Things Considered's Audie Cornish was a guest at their Fakesgiving in October. She invited Dunn and Patton into the studio to find out which dishes they deemed the hits and the ones they thought were duds.

Here's a selection of some of Dunn and Patton's top picks for 2015.

  • Porchetta-Style Roast Turkey Breast from Bon Appetit. "It's a turkey wrapped in delicious bacon. It has a paste of bacon and herbs on the inside, as it's wrapped and rolled," says Dunn.

  • Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Gastrique from Cooking Light. Says Dunn: "It's indicative of a larger trend in side dishes we see at the Thanksgiving table this year, which is inclusion of vinegar."

  • Ancient grains are "a really big trend that we see throughout the 10 food magazines we look at recipes from," says Patton. This year, the recipes "treated the grains in really unusual ways. The barley might be smoked or the rye berries might be pickled." They chose a Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad with Crunchy Spelt from Cooking Light. The spelt "almost takes on the consistency of unpopped popcorn." Overall, Patton says, it was a "refreshing salad, side dish with this great crunch from the fried spelt."
  • Grapefruit Cornmeal Cake from Food & Wine. "This actually reflects a really big trend we saw, which is this real focus on citrus flavors and tropical fruit flavors, which again is really not something that is typical for the Thanksgiving table," says Patton. "It is this really dense cake that is really brightened by the flavors of grapefruit and then you pour over a sugar poppyseed glaze. It really reminded me of the flavors of a lemon poppyseed muffin."

And the duds:

  • Tex-Mex Green Bean Casserole from the Food Network. "It's more cheese than green beans, it's covered with homemade Dorito topping that you bake, it is a cheese bomb," says Dunn.
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